WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Grocery Manufacturers Association issued the following statement by Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, regarding First Lady Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Initiative:
“The commitment from the Obama Administration as highlighted today by the First Lady will be extraordinarily helpful as we all work to solve this critical issue. Childhood obesity is a serious national challenge. Doing our part to help win this critical battle is a top priority for the food and beverage industry, and we are already taking significant steps to create and encourage healthier food choices. In recent years, we have changed our packaging to promote portion control and we have reformulated more than 10,000 products to reduce or remove saturated fats, trans fats, calories, sugar and sodium. Changes in advertising practices have resulted in a significant shift in the product mix of advertising viewed by children and companies continue to compete by focusing on consumers’ desires for healthy products and a healthy lifestyle. Recently over 40 food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and NGOs announced a $20 million multi-year initiative - the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) - designed to help reduce obesity, particularly childhood obesity, by 2015. The HWCF promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance and focuses on three critical areas: the marketplace, the workplace and schools, as well as undertaking a public education campaign aimed at 6-11 year olds and their parents.
“We applaud the First Lady for making childhood obesity a top priority and look forward to working with her to address one of the nation's most significant health care problems. We look forward to working with her to identify new steps that can be taken by the private sector and by the public sector to promote healthy eating habits, greater access to healthy choices, and more physical activity. We all have a role to play if we are going to reduce the number of children and adults who are obese or seriously overweight. There is no American better positioned to lead a national effort to combat obesity than the First Lady."